Inès Zeghloul, with AFP / Photo credits: Bertrand GUAY / AFP 17:55 p.m., November 18, 2023

At the initiative of the National Collective for a Just and Lasting Peace between Palestinians and Israelis, a demonstration calling for an "immediate ceasefire in Gaza" took place this Saturday afternoon in Paris. Other rallies were organized, notably in Marseille and Toulouse.

The Paris demonstration to demand an "immediate ceasefire in Gaza" began Saturday afternoon at the initiative of the national collective for a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis which also called for mobilizations throughout France, AFP found. The Paris procession of several thousand participants set off in the rain before 15 p.m. from the Place de la République, behind a banner reading "Stop the massacre in Gaza and the West Bank, cease fire immediately."

>> Follow developments on the 43rd day of the Israel-Hamas conflict here

A ceasefire "so that the guns fall silent", says Sophie Binet

"This is a serious time for our Palestinian friends," Bertrand Heilbronn, president of France Palestine Solidarity, told reporters before the protest began. "She is also for peace. It is also for the cohesion of our country," he added. Describing the "indescribable suffering for the Palestinian people", calling for "an end to the bombings", "ground offensives" and the "lifting of the blockade" of Gaza, the activist for the Palestinian cause also questioned the "illegible position" of the French executive "which shames our country".

"France must immediately call for a ceasefire so that the guns are silenced," said Sophie Binet, the general secretary of the CGT who, alongside the unions Solidaires and FSU, relayed the calls to demonstrate of the collective. Mobilizations are organized in 83 cities in France, said the number 1 of the CGT.

Rallies in Marseille, Toulouse...

In Marseille, several hundred people gathered near the Old Port. A minute's silence was observed for the Palestinian victims, an AFP journalist said. In Toulouse, a procession gathered in the morning between 1,200 people according to the prefecture and 4,000 according to the CGT. After a first wave of bans, several demonstrations in support of Palestinians have taken place in France, notably on November 4 and 11, since the Hamas massacres in Israel on October 7 and the military response in Gaza.

>> READ ALSO - Israel-Hamas: Ethan, Sahar, Mia... What we know about French hostages held in Gaza for more than 40 days

The Israeli military estimates that some 240 people were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip during Hamas' unprecedented attack on Israeli territory. It killed about 1,200 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities.

In retaliation, Israel has been relentlessly bombing the Gaza Strip and has been conducting a ground operation since October 27 with the aim of "annihilating" the Islamist movement in power in the Palestinian territory. The Israeli strikes on Gaza killed more than 12,000 people, including 5,000 children and 3,300 women, according to Hamas' health ministry.